Best Secret Beaches on Earth
Brazil may be blessed with more than 4,600 miles of coastline—but finding untouched sands is harder than it seems. Yet a few rustic beach towns in the northeastern state of Alagoas remain relatively unknown. Once considered a backwater and long overshadowed by Bahia to the south, this small, laid-back region is finally on the map. In Barra de São Miguel, Kenoa—Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort (011-55-82-3272-1285; doubles from $617) is a high-design retreat that blends seamlessly into the landscape. Portuguese owner Pedro Marques brought his eco-conscious vision to life by enlisting the help of local architect Osvaldo Tenório. Rooms are adorned with contemporary art; faucets are refashioned from old iron pipes; and recycled railway trestles are used as coffee tables. You may just want to gaze at the turquoise sea from your villa’s floor-to-ceiling windows, but there’s plenty to keep you busy, from sampling Portuguese cataplanas (rich seafood stews served in traditional copper pots) at the hotel’s restaurant to visiting the nearby oyster-farming community of Vila Palateia, where you can try bivalves plucked straight from the mangrove lagoon. Seventy miles to the north, the white-sand beaches around São Miguel dos Milagres are just as secluded and are dotted with crystalline tide pools. A handful of forward-thinking pousada owners invested here over the past decade—and sophisticated travelers are finally taking notice. At the stylish Pousada do Toque (doubles from $375), imbuia-wood chairs from Brazilian Modernist Sergio Rodrigues and daybeds by Carlos Motta help set the scene in the spacious lounge, while the 17 bungalows have bathrooms with Japanese-style tubs looking out onto private gardens. In nearby Porto de Pedras, the light-filled Pousada Patacho (doubles from $190) has five intimate, white-washed rooms surrounded by towering coconut palms and vine-draped terraces.